MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko has supported Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s decision to retire from the sport while he was at the top.
As 44-year-old Fedor prepares to enter the cage for his 46th fight, Khabib is enjoying retirement, having ended his career as an unbeaten UFC champion.
“The Eagle” accomplished everything that he’d set out to achieve in the sport. After winning the vacant lightweight belt against Al Iaquinta in 2018, Khabib defended it against Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje before calling time on a remarkable career.
But while the likes of Tyron Woodley and Anderson Silva fought well beyond their primes, the Russian announced that he would be stepping away from the sport aged 32. His final walk to the Octagon came at UFC 254 last October. A second-round submission victory over “The Highlight” firmly established Khabib as part of the conversation for the greatest of all time.
Speaking about his compatriot’s decision to remain retired despite UFC president Dana White and the fans’ best efforts, Fedor praised Khabib for protecting his legacy.
In an interview with MMA Junkie’s Nolan King, “The Last Emperor” stated that Khabib shouldn’t receive any judgement for his decision.
“Every fighter has a right of choice. It’s not up to the fans and what they want, it’s up to the fighter. Khabib had his own way. He wanted to leave undefeated with his legacy. And again, it’s up to the fighter, so, you can’t really judge him. What you have to do is respect their opinion on what they want to do in their career,” Fedor said.
In contrast to Khabib, Fedor will continue the different path that he’s chosen on October 23. The legend will return to Bellator to headline the promotion’s Russian debut. It’ll be his first fight since a TKO victory over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson at Bellator 237 in 2019.
With the likes of Junior dos Santos, Alistair Overeem and Josh Barnett revealed as potential opponents by Bellator president Scott Coker, the main event, which could be Fedor’s final fight, promises to be an intriguing watch.
Do you think that Fedor Emelianenko should have retired while he was at the top like Khabib?